Green light for Ballyrogan Wind Farm

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COUNCILLORS have backed an application for a wind farm, comprising of five wind turbines at Ballyrogan Road in Garvagh.

The agent, TCI Renewables brought the application to Council back in December.

At the meeting, a representative from the firm spoke to members.

The application was listed again on Tuesday night’s agenda as an approval.

At the meeting, Mr Steven Martin spoke on behalf of the objectors.

There are 18 objection letters to the application and two support petitions with over 300 signatures.

Addressing members, Mr Martin spoke about the human impact the application would have on people in the area.

He told the meeting that there was a residential property close to the entrance of the development and added that there were properties on all sides of the proposed wind farm.

He highlighted noise and visual impact the development would have on the area, and spoke about vibrations to neighbouring properties.

Admitting that the development would bring money into the community, Mr Martin added: “There is a human side.

“People want piece and quality of life, they wouldn’t have moved to the area if they knew that this application was in the pipeline.”

Mr Martin asked for the Council’s support to petition the Environment Minister, Alex Attwood.

UUP councillor David Harding was in support of the wind farm, he said: “There are 307 addresses on the support petition, that says a lot.”

DUP councillor Adrian McQuillan agreed saying: “We must stick to the planning issues.

“In respect of the noise and visual impact, assessments were carried out by the applicant. This is a huge investment for the area.”

The Mayor, DUP councillor Sam Cole said his “ heart went out” to the objectors. He said he would support them in their efforts to petition the Minister.

Independent councillor David McClarty raised the issue of consistency saying: “There are pros and cons.

“Renewable energy is the way forward, but there is also a human element.

“One turbine was refused on the issue of visual impact earlier in this meeting and now we’re looking at this application with five turbines. The lack of consistency gives cause for concern.”

Independent councillor Christine Alexander supported the objectors.

She said: “Turbines are funding driven. We’ll have a legacy of abandoned wind turbines all over this country. I would be more than happy to petition the Minister.

A proposal by DUP councillor Adrian McQuillan to agree with the Planners’ decision to approve the application was carried by 12 votes to five.